On May 29, the Rockies announced that they had released 15 players on May 18, which Renee Dechert wrote about here at Purple Row. It went against the roster freeze that most believed was in effect across the organization, but it turns out that it was only the MLB roster that was untouchable. However, on Thursday, the Denver Post’s Kyle Newman estimated “about 34 players have been released over the past two months.”
If you count the released players from Rockies Roster in May and April, it’s 27 players. Newman didn’t list the 34 but did say that most fans wouldn’t recognize most of their names (outside of Tim Melville who started seven games for the Rockies in 2019) as they range from all levels of the farm system.
Whatever the real number is, it’s a lot of players. It’s a lot of people who dreamed about playing baseball their whole lives and worked really hard to get to the levels at which they were playing. As of February, and even into March, those dreams were still alive.
That number could be increased even more as we know that MiLB is going to shrink and the Rockies are likely to lose the rookie-league Grand Junction Rockies and Class-A Advanced Lancaster JetHawks. With the draft being significantly cut down from 40 rounds to five, that’s even more players who will have their professional baseball dreams dashed before they even got a chance to enter the majors. This has far reaching effects to college baseball too, which Justin Wick wrote about for Purple Row on Thursday.
Minor league players aren’t compensated very well and it’s a grinding existence that can last years. Currently, Rockies’ minor leaguers are set to continue getting a $400 a month stipend through this month.
But for people who love the game and believe in their abilities, they get to try to live the dream and some even make it to the majors. Newman acknowledges that many of these players might have been cut as part of roster selection after spring training but hits on the main point that things are changing and likely won’t go back to the way they were.
Newman interviewed two of the Rockies’ former minor leaguers, pitchers Jordan Foley and Micah Kaczor, to share their thoughts. Foley, who had spent six years in the minors and was slated to play for Triple-A Albuquerque this year, said he has to move on with his life, not knowing for sure if he was cut because of COVID-19 or his lack of potential. He’s hoping a chance will resurface to play professionally again, but he can’t count on it. Kaczor admitted he was a long shot to make it to the big leagues as he was an undrafted free agent and only made six starts for Class-A Boise. With all the factors hitting MiLB, he realizes what many young players are going to have to come to terms with: “Now, it’s going from a select few to an even fewer select few.”
This is being presented as a baseball story that garnered national attention, not as a political statement. In a post on Instagram, Ian Desmond briefly explained what it’s like to live in his shoes. His mom is white and his dad is Black. Desmond said his mom’s brothers disowned her for “being with a Black man.” As a result, he’s never met his uncles. Desmond said he’s been profiled, judged, and pulled over and it continues to this day.
Baseball players from around the country are expressing their views about the current civil unrest, including Dodger manager Dave Roberts (in the L.A. Times), Hall of Famer Derek Jeter (Twitter), and players like Giancarlo Stanton (Twitter), former Rockie Dexter Fowler (Twitter), Pete Alonso (Instagram), Adam Wainwright and his wife, Jenny, (Twitter), and Andrew McCutchen (and others from the sports world).
On Thursday, the NBA Board of Governors made the 2020 NBA restart official. It’s tentatively planned to start July 31. Meanwhile, the stalemate between the MLB owners and the MLB Players Association rages on. There is no agreement and it’s hard not to get discouraged, but Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry tried to find reasons for optimism, citing that front office officials for the Brewers and Diamondbacks believe and have been assured that there will be a 2020 season. It will be different in many ways. I don’t think we care, as long as it comes back.
How optimistic are you that there will be a 2020 MLB season?
This poll is closed
100%. They have find a way because the sport can’t survive being sidelined.
Pretty sure. There is too much money to be lost. Players and owners will figure it out.
Slim chance. It seems unlikely, but I have to believe.
No chance. Baseball isn’t happening in 2020.
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